I was offered the opportunity to teach LinkedIn for 90 minutes to a group of (dues-paying) business networkers.

A budget for this session? I asked. They don’t pay outside speakers.

I was offered, but I did not accept. Insert: lots of soul searching…I had to turn down 2 friends who brought this to me to say no thanks and respectfully declined. A calculated risk.

Call me foolish/myopic/self-protecting. But I don’t consider my work a free training service. Even to a group where I do not know 90% of them.

Not to be naive-I know this could have turned into opportunities; operative words: could have. But with no assurance.

AND…in 90 minutes, I load up a lot of great material to convey to people who are to be kept interested and engaged (lest they bury their noses in their smartphones to put out the fire of the day; I get that). Attention spans are short theses days so my sessions are jam-packed full of energy and really useful tips/techniques to be successful on LinkedIn. With take-aways to take away to your staff and share with your friends. A great resource for now and then later.

So where does that leave me after a free 90 minute session? IMHO and in my past experience (“IMPE”), after robust follow ups, it will likely preclude any other additional opportunities to train them or their colleagues.

I know how people have to be convinced to pay for LinkedIn training. I do that convincing every day. LinkedIn is too powerful to be used poorly and too expansive to use without focused training. So somewhere in between it must be worth some training dollars, right?

pickbrainI may have made a mistake, you may say, but I keep mulling it over and in my mind and I keep coming back to a Forbes article another colleague sent me a long time ago that still makes a lot of sense, and the title is SO RIGHT: “No, You Can’t Pick My Brain. It Costs Too Much.”

Pro bono sessions are selective and reserved for those who cannot afford it: some nonprofits and some under-employed.

In training the rest, I ask to be compensated for the expertise and insight I bring to the proverbial table. In my case, to the podium. Just as I have done IMPE.

I imagine some of you will have comments. And you can tell me if I was wrong.

Marc W. Halpert

LinkedIn personal coach, group trainer, marketing strategist and overall evangelist, having a great time pursuing my passion of connecting professionals so they can collaborate better!

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